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Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs)

For photonic communications requiring data rate 100-200 Mb/s


with multimode fiber with tens of microwatts, LEDs are usually
the best choice.
LED configurations being used in photonic communications:
1- Surface Emitters (Front Emitters)
2- Edge Emitters

Edge-Emitting LED

Schematic of an edge-emitting double heterojunction LED. The output beam is


lambertian in the plane of junction and highly directional perpendicular to pn junction.
They have high quantum efficiency & fast response.
Optical Fiber communications, 3rd ed.,G.Keiser,McGrawHill, 2000

Light Source Material

Most of the light sources contain III-V ternary & quaternary


compounds.
Ga 1 x Al x As by varying x it is possible to control the band-gap
energy and thereby the emission wavelength over the range of
800 nm to 900 nm. The spectral width is around 20 to 40 nm.
In1 x Ga x As y P1 y By changing 0<x<0.47; y is approximately 2.2x,
the emission wavelength can be controlled over the range of
920 nm to 1600 nm. The spectral width varies from 70 nm to
180 nm when the wavelength changes from 1300 nm to 1600
nm. These materials are lattice matched.

Spectral width of LED types

Optical Fiber communications, 3rd ed.,G.Keiser,McGrawHill, 2000

Rate equations, Quantum Efficiency & Power of


LEDs

When there is no external carrier injection, the excess density


decays exponentially due to electron-hole recombination.

n(t ) n0 e t /

n is the excess carrier density,

n0 : initial injected excess electron density

: carrier lifetime.

Bulk recombination rate R:

dn n

dt

Bulk recombination rate (R)=Radiative recombination rate +


nonradiative recombination rate

bulk recombination rate ( R 1/ )


radiative recombination rate ( Rr 1/ r ) nonradiative recombination rate( Rnr 1/ nr )

With an external supplied current density of J the rate equation for the electron-hole
recombination is:

dn(t ) J n
[4-6]

dt
qd
q : charge of the electron; d : thickness of recombination region
In equilibrium condition: dn/dt=0

J
n
qd

[4-7]

Internal Quantum Efficiency & Optical Power


nr
Rr

int

Rr Rnr r nr r
int : internal quantum efficiency in the active region
Optical power generated internally in the active region in the LED is:

I
hcI
Pint int h int
q
q
Pint : Internal optical power,
I : Injected current to active region

External Quantum Eficiency


ext

# of photons emitted from LED


# of LED internally generated photons

[4-10]

In order to calculate the external quantum efficiency, we need to


consider the reflection effects at the surface of the LED. If we
consider the LED structure as a simple 2D slab waveguide, only
light falling within a cone defined by critical angle will be emitted
from an LED.

ext

T ( )(2 sin )d

4 0

4n1n2
T ( ) : Fresnel Transmissi on Coefficient T (0)
(n1 n2 ) 2
If n2 1 ext

1
n1 (n1 1) 2

Pint
LED emitted optical powr, P ext Pint
n1 (n1 1) 2

Modulation of LED

The frequency response of an LED depends on:


1- Doping level in the active region
2- Injected carrier lifetime in the recombination region, i .
3- Parasitic capacitance of the LED
If the drive current of an LED is modulated at a frequency of
the output optical power of the device will vary as:

P ( )

P0

[4-15]

1 ( i ) 2

Electrical current is directly proportional to the optical power,


thus we can define electrical bandwidth and optical bandwidth,
separately.

p()
I()

20
log

I (0)
p
(
0
)

p : electrical power, I : electrical current

Electrical BW 10log

[4-16]